Nandyarvattam Flower – Crape Jasmine

Nandyarvattam is a tree-like shrub with white flowers. Also known as Crape Jasmine in English, its flowers look like a pinwheel. In Kerala, it is usually grown in households gardens and courtyards. Since it is widely used for offerings and poojas, it is often grown in temple premises also.

As per beliefs, its white flowers are special for Lord Vishnu. So in Sanskrit, it has a name – Vishnupriya.

Nandyarvattam Flower - Tabernaemontana divaricata
Flowers of Nandyarvattam – Photos from Kottayam, Kerala

Important Details

Plant Type:
Evergreen Shrub/Small Tree

Family: Apocynaceae
Scientific name: Tabernaemontana divaricata /
Tabernaemontana coronaria

Height: ~1 to 4 meters
Flowers:
white, 5 petals, 3 to 5 cm diameter
Flowering: all round the year

Distribution: Asia – found all over India

Common Names:
English: Pinwheel flower, Crape Jasmine
Malayalam: Nandyarvattam
Tamil: Adukku Nandiarvattai
Hindi: Chameli, Chandni, Tagar
Sanskrit: Nandeevruksha, Ksheeri,
Nandyavartha, Vishnupriya


Main uses: for poojas, traditional medicines, ornamental plant

Description

This evergreen plant has lots of branches. The size and general morphology of the plant vary significantly from one plant to another. Mostly, the plant looks like a shrub and does not grow more than 2 meters. However, in some cases, it grows well above that and looks like a small tree.

The leaves are ovate and opposite with length up to 15 cm. The tip is pointed. Breaking the leaf or branch produces a white sap.

The size of the flowers also varies. It can be from 2.5 to 5 cm across. The white petals are five in number with a slight twist towards the left (idampiri in Malayalam), making the flower appear like a pinwheel. There is also a variety with the twist towards the right (valampiri), but I think it is rare.

There is also a variety with fragrant double-flower. The normal variety is not fragrant.

The fruit is about 3 cm long while the seed has a length of 7.5 mm.

Nandyarvattam - Pinwheel flower - Crape Jasmine
Flowers often occur in groups
Nandyarvattam - Pinwheel flower - Crape Jasmine
A slightly different variety with broader petals
Nandyarvattam - Pinwheel flower - Crape Jasmine

Distribution & Habitat

Nandyarvattam is native to the south and southeast Asia including India and parts of China where it has several uses in traditional medicines. The plant prefers moist, fertile soil with good availability of sunlight although it can grow under shade too.

Cultivation is possible from seeds as well as stem cutting.

20 thoughts on “Nandyarvattam Flower – Crape Jasmine

  1. What a beautiful flower! I always enjoy your photos and the information you provide about the flowers – otherwise I would have to spend a lot of time on Google!

  2. Your captures are so crystal clear that they are pure delight to the eye. And loved the wonderful tidbits about the usage of these flowers. Brilliant photography and a very useful and informative post as well.

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